Army Pledges To Overcome Security Challenges

The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Azibuke Ihejirika, has assured Nigerians of the determination of the Nigerian Army to combat all security challenges confronting the nation, especially in the yuletide.

He stated this at the commissioning of a newly renovated two blocks of 60 flats and two borehole water projects donated by former president Olusegun Obasanjo, at the 35 Artillery Brigade, Alamala, Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, south west Nigeria.

Represented by the General Officer Commanding (GOC), 81 Division, Lagos, Obi Umahi, the chief army chief said the army in collaboration with other security agencies are doing everything humanly possible to tame the insurgence of the Boko Haram sect, allaying the fears of Nigerians on security problems confronting it.

“We are waging a major operation against Boko Haram in the country and we want Nigerians to be encouraged that whatever has a beginning must also have an end.”

Umahi however tasked the officers to align themselves with the transformation agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan and contribute their quota towards national development.

Boko Haram Could Be War Criminals – UN

The United Nations Human Rights Office has warned that the Boko Haram sect could be classed as war criminals, as it condemns a bloody attack on a wedding convoy.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Cecile Pouilly, said members of Boko Haram and other groups and entities, if judged to have committed widespread or systematic attacks against a civilian population could be guilty of crimes against humanity.

Pouilly called the wedding convoy attack atrocious and condemned Boko Haram’s campaign of attacks against civilians, politicians, members of government institutions, foreigners and the security forces.

Besides condemning the sect’s bloody campaign, human rights groups have also slammed government troops for killing civilians and for other violations in the battle zone.

Pouilly added that the UN is following up closely with the Nigerian authorities’ allegations of abuses and human rights violations which may have been committed by security forces when conducting operations.

She noted that the Nigerian military is in the process of finalizing a report on people detained in connection with the insurgency, and urges the government to disclose its findings.

Boko Haram: Committee Submits Report To Jonathan

The Presidential Committee set up by President Goodluck Jonathan to dialogue with the Boko Haram dreaded sect has submitted its report to the President.

The committee which had spent 7 months travelling round Northern Nigeria trying to get the leaders of the sect to stop their widely condemned act admitted that the leadership of the insurgent group refused to have any dialogue with them despite all their efforts.

Chairman of the committee, Kabiru Turaki said, “Some of our difficulties in having a productive dialogue include the refusal of their leaders to submit to dialogue. However, many of the key members of the insurgents both in detention and at large have positively responded to contacts and have accepted the dialogue option as capable of full resolution of the conflict.”

It was in this vain that the committee recommended that the President should set up an advisory committee on continuous dialogue to continue from where they stopped.

Receiving the report, President Jonathan said that Government will look into all the recommendations, promising to set up a committee to follow up on the dialogue.

The president however told them that government will rather provide assistance to the victims of the attacks rather than compensations.

Following Boko Haram attacks and the attendant insecurity in the land, Nigeria’s President had in April 2013 set up the committee on dialogue and peaceful resolution of security challenges in the North.

Although the committee is winding up, President Jonathan has said that the Nigerian Government remains open to dialogue.

Nigeria Deepens Fight Against Terrorism

The Nigerian Army has trained another batch of 120 officers on counter terrorism and counter insurgency operations.

Addressing reporters during their Passing Out Parade at the Nigerian Army School Of Infantry, Jaji, Kaduna, the Chief Of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Azubuike Ihejirika assured Nigerians that the fight against terrorism, especially in the Northern part of the country would soon be over.

He added that the Nigerian military had made significant progress in the war against insurgency.

The Chief of Army Staff, who was represented by the General Officer Commanding, 1 Division, Nigerian Army, Major General Garba Wahab, said that with the kind of skills acquired by the officers during their training, they would contribute immensely to the war against terrorism.

He also highlighted the  successes recorded against the Boko Haram terrorists  so far.

“The Nigerian Army remains battle ready against the nation’s enemies,” the Chief of Army Staff stressed.

Some of the newly commissioned officers promised to protect the country from both internal and external attacks, and assist their colleagues, who are already on the field, to tackle the security challenges headlong.

The officers who were drawn from different army formations across the country, spent 3 months at the School Of Infantry, and during the period they were exposed to trainings and lectures on counter terrorism and counter insurgency operations.

The history of Nigerian Army School of Infantry can be traced to the establishment of the Royal West African Frontier Force during the colonial administration of West Africa in the late 1950s.

Deployment of soldiers to Edo causes commotion in House

A motion which seeks to recall the 3500 soldiers deployed to Edo state for this weekend’s governorship elections has divided lawmakers of the House of Representatives.

The motion was raised by opposition lawmaker Hon. Bimbo Daramola (ACN, Ekiti State), the bill sought to challenge the deployment of 3500 soldiers to Edo state for the forthcoming governorship elections in the state.

The matter appeared to have been settled only for the speaker to halt proceedings to admit to have made an error.

The motion, which came as a point of Constitutional Order, was defeated in a voice vote but the decision  was challenged by the House Minority Leader, Femi Gbajiamila and this led  to an apology by the speaker of the House, Honourable Aminu Tambuwal .

The speaker then ruled that a physical vote will be taken on the matter during plenary on Thursday. The vote will however be to determine if the motion should be considered or not.

A total of 3,500 soldiers have been deployed to ensure adequate security for the governorship election in Edo State.

Commander, 4 Brigade Nigerian Army, Brig. Gen. Obi Umahi said it was part of the decisions of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Azubike Ihejirika, to make the election peaceful.

60 vehicles have also been taken to the state to aid movement of the soldiers who will be positioned in different locations during the election to curtail any breakdown of law, order and electioneering rules.

Brig.-Gen.Umahi said the patrol trucks would be distributed to various local governments and constituencies in the state.

Sambo meets service chiefs over insecurity in the north

Following the persistent violence in Kaduna and Yobe states, in the last three days,Vice President Nnamadi Sambo, on Tuesday, met with all the service chiefs in Abuja to discuss and review the security situation in the states .

The meeting, which was held at the Presidential Villa behind closed door, was attended by the National Security Adviser, General Owoye Azazi; the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshall Oluseyi Petinrin; Chief of Army Staff Lt. Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika and the Director-General of State Security Service, Mr. Ekpeyong Ita.

Others were the Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshall Mohammed Umar, Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ola Ibrahim and the Acting Inspector General of Police, Mr. Abubakar Mohammed.

Figures from police and the Red Cross showed on Wednesday that at least 80 people have been killed since Monday in clashes in the two states triggered by Boko Haram, the fundamentalist sect that is waging an insurgency against the government.

According to General Azazi, there was no iota of truth in the claim that the crisis in these two states had escalated, adding that even though it was serious before, the security agents were in control.

He also stated that the Governor of Kaduna State, Mr. Patrick Yakowa, was already discussing with religious leaders on how to end the crisis.

The General noted that what should be paramount in the mind of Nigerians was how to extend the discussion to the national level.

He said the discussion in Kaduna was not late, adding that talking could never be late.

“Talking can never be late. Whatever is the situation, you have to end up talking. We want leaders to be proactive; we church leaders (have) to be proactive” the NSA said,

He added that “we want youth leaders to be proactive to make sure that what you call reprisal doesn’t make sense to anybody. What we need to do is to be mindful that ‘look, somebody is killing somebody in Zaria and you are retaliating somewhere in Zonkwa.’ That is criminality.”